The noun ほど (
so much that,
to such a point that,
up to the point that, and in general any expression having to do with the limit, quantity, or the extension of something.
ほど is used in different expressions that take on various meanings depending on the context. Some of these expressions are:
In this post, we learn more about the meaning of ほど, how it is formed, and when ほど is used through real example sentences.
How ほど is formed
ほど follows any verb, adjective, or noun without variation. When ほど is attached to an adjective in な, you need to add な between the adjective and ほど:
ほど comes from the kanji 程, which means
How and when to use ほど
In its basic meaning ほど is used to indicate a maximum (or minimum) limit or extent that has been reached.
For this reason, ほど is often translated as
so much that,
to such an extent that. This translation aims to highlight the idea of limit.
ほど cannot be used when the "limit" has actually been exceeded.
Let's see an example to understand this meaning of ほど:
Are you that weak?
In this example, ほど is used after それ: それほど, which translates as
up to that point. The sentence then uses the adjective 弱い
weak. All together the phrase highlights a limit or degree of weakness:
weak up to that point.
Unlike くらい, ほど can also be used when the sentence is conjugated in the negative.
It's not something that makes me angry.
Literally this example sentence can be interpreted as
it is not a thing to such an extent that it is necessary to get angry.
It's not an injury serious enough to worry about.
ほど to indicate an extreme limit
In some sentences ほど is used to indicate an extreme limit. In these cases ほど translates as
there is no one like...,
there is nothing that....
There is no country more beautiful than Switzerland.
In these cases ほど indicates that there is nothing that reaches a point where it can be compared with what is mentioned.
ほど to indicate a quantity
When ほど follows a measure of quantity it indicates an approximation of the specified quantity: it translates as
more or less,
In this sense, ほど is synonymous with くらい and ぐらい.
Let's see a simple example:
9 years (of time).
About 9 years (of time).
In this example ほど follows the noun ９年間 to indicate that the amount is
more or less,
around 9 years.
ほど~ない: not like that
When ほど is used in a sentence conjugated in the negative form (ない) its meaning becomes
it does not go so far that...,
it is not so much that....
Today is not as cold as yesterday.
The example compares the
cold (寒い) of
today (今日) and that of
yesterday (昨日). The sentence is conjugated in the negative to indicate that today
is not as cold as (ほど) yesterday.
It is also possible to compare two levels, stating that
（A） doesn't do something as much as
You don't study as much as me.
にもほどがある: there is a limit to how much
One particular expression that uses ほど is にもほどがある. This expression consists of:
- Particle に: to indicate a "direction" (
in this (there is a limit))
- Particle も: indicates
also in this
- がある: expression that translates as
にもほどがある therefore translates as
there is a limit to how much...,
here too there is a limit. にもほどがある is used when you have reached the maximum allowed limit to perform a certain action.
There's a limit to how stupid it can be.
Another expression ほどほど (程々, 程ほど, 程程) is used instead when the quantity is moderate, in the right amount.
Examples of ほど
The exam wasn't as difficult as I thought.
He'll be here in about 10 minutes.
It's not so cold outside.